Sporthatch and TT
Engines for alls!
It’a all there ...
It’s good ...
You gets ...
Handsome, massive range, fine dynamics.
So-so 1.7 CDTi
At a price
Back of TT and SH
... for a price
Basic sport hatch?
...but not the best
... if you pays
Not drippng in toys, expensive diesels, dour dash.
Bravo to Opel for finally lifting the Astra out of the design doldrums. Bold lights, interesting detailing, seductive shapes: they’re all here, though of all the body styles the Sport Hatch is the slickest and the TwinTop is the prettiest.
The 1.3 CDTi and 1.4 can reach 100km/h in a decent 13.6 secs, while the 1.7 CTDi and 1.6 get there in 12.2 secs. The 1.8 manages 10.7 secs, but 1.9 CDTi engines impress with 10.4 sec (120bhp) and 8.9 sec (150bhp) 0-100 km/h times. 2.0 Turbo’s time of 8.5 sec sprint pales next to OPC’s wild 6.4 secs.
Although the Astra doesn’t have a sophisticated chassis like the Focus and Golf, it still rides very well and handles with old-school enthusiasm. Sportier models are stiffer but sportier, with more road feel and better body control. The OPC is very hard, but brilliant on the right road.
The Astra’s interior is very logically laid out, although it’s a bit austere, and some of the switchgear is very uniform and so not ideal to use. The steering wheel controls are very confusing if you have a trip computer. The driving position and the rest of the basics are top drawer, though.
The Astra is as well made as most of its rivals and uses well-matched materials, so differences in plastics are less noticeable. It feels very solidly made indeed, and feels equally as robust over bumps and humps, though refinement levels aren’t quite up to Golf and Focus levels.
All Astras have brake-force distribution, front and side airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, three 3-point belts and headrests in the back, and a 5-star NCAP rating. ESP doesn’t appear until SRi and side airbags feature in the Club model. The safety is there, but you have to pay for it.
There’s now actually some proper space in the back of the Astra, although access to the back of the Sport Hatch requires some dexterity. The Estate is fairly commodious, while the TwinTop is tight in the back, but has a surprisingly spacious boot.
Opel isn’t giving the Astra away - no model breaks the sub €20K barrier - and there are no entry-level Sport Hatch models. Running costs shouldn’t be too extreme, as long as you buy a sane model. Resale should be reasonably strong too, thanks to high equipment levels and appealing looks.
The Astra Life has a CD player, remote locking and electric windows. Club models get A/C, alloys, curtain airbags and electric mirrors. SXi/Design adds bigger alloys, bucket seats and a leather steering (SRi has sports suspension). SRi gets 17-inch alloys, ESP, a computer and an alarm.
The huge engine range starts with a 1248cc CDTi that’s as powerful as the 90bhp 1.4 petrol, but with 200Nm vs 125Nm. Unremarkable 105bhp 1.6 and 100bhp 1.7 CDTi are next, followed by a 125bhp (140 in TT) 1.8, excellent 120bhp and 150bhp 1.9 CTDis, 170bhp 2.0 T and barking 240bhp OPC engine.